Limoges was made up of two urban cores during the Middle Ages : “la Cité” around the cathedral, and the upper town with Saint-Martial abbey and the viscountcy motte. These two neighbouring towns were protected by ramparts and were often rivals. They were united after the French Revolution. The square where you are standing gets its name from the defense system established here around the year 1000: a feudal motte. The fresco on one of the walls represents a “motte” which is an artificial mound, crowned by a watchtower, overlooking a barnyard, where Limoges’s viscount lived. From the 13th century onwards, a new, larger building was edified. La Motte became ponds which were to be the city’s water supply. This is when the town’s butchers began to settle down below la Motte : they used the running water to dispose of their garbage. The ponds were dried up in the late 18th century, and what was left became a market area. Today’s large covered market was inaugurated 1889.
One century later, whilst a carpark was being dug, archaeological searches revealed much of the neighbourhood’s history.